Not of the Ordinary (NOTO), the Center City night club that opened in February 2017, has been a popular venue for Penn students looking to venture downtown this semester. It seems like every weekend, there is a reason for students to make the trek downtown, even on a Sunday or Tuesday night. Opened and operated by a recent Penn grad, this is exactly what NOTO hoped to achieve: a club made for and run by millenials.
Director of NOTO Maggie De Berardine graduated from Penn in 2016 with a degree in biochemistry. A member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, De Berardine began the initial planning for NOTO her senior year with her brothers, expressing dissatisfaction with the state of the downtown social scene for younger crowds in Philadelphia.
“It might seem like a bit of a non sequitur going from a Penn student and a biochemistry major to going into business in nightlife,” De Berardine admitted. “[But] when I was at Penn, my brothers and I noticed that some of Philadelphia’s entertainment experiences were lacking what is available in other markets, so we really wanted to bring something new and exciting to Philadelphia,” she continued.
As part of NOTO's club functions, it is open to the public on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with a DJ.
NOTO also serves as an event space. The first events NOTO held in conjunction with Penn organizations were ZTA’s spring formal in April 2017 and Alpha Phi’s winter formal in December 2017. The space doubles, however, as a concert venue, complete with an in–house studio and stage, according to a press release.
In the last year and a half since its opening, NOTO has hosted concerts and other ticketed events sponsored by social groups, both affiliated and non–affiliated with Penn. “The connections I had from Penn and knowing which organizations to reach out to all built upon itself and solidified the relationship,” DeBerardine said.
Their concert space has already seen performances from some big names in hip–hop. In just the last few weeks, NOTO hosted concerts by Migos and Rae Sremmurd. They also have an upcoming concert in November with Galantis. De Berardine said groups are able to partner with artists outside of the club’s standard hours and host ticketed events, a feature some Penn social groups have utilized.
Though NOTO has hosted events, including sorority and fraternity date nights for other Philadelphia–area universities, Penn students have frequented the venue the most. “Our strongest relationship is with Penn, and some of that has to do with my status as an alum,” De Berardine continued.
In 2017, Philly.com awarded NOTO the “Reader’s Choice Award for Best Nightclub.” Moving forward, De Berardine said she hopes NOTO continues to appeal to the college market, while also becoming a fixture in the young professional community of Philadelphia. “NOTO is a really dynamic space,” she continued. “I’m certain we will continue to appeal to different groups.”